Many have noted that August 28, 2023, will be the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington. Incidentally, that date is also the 15th anniversary of the nomination of Barack Obama for the presidency.
But today is 55 years after the MLK assassination. I remember the day extremely well. I’m not particularly prone to conspiracy, but even The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford asks the question of who killed the reverend, was more than one person involved, and the like. And my thought: was it a coincidence that he was killed on the first anniversary of his sermon denouncing US military involvement in Vietnam?
Missing the point
I despair that King’s message is often obfuscated. Dr. King campaigned against not just racism but poverty. In his final book, “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?”, he wrote:
A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look at thousands of working people displaced from their jobs with reduced incomes as a result of automation while the profits of the employers remain intact, and say: ‘This is not just.’ . . . Let us be those creative dissenters who will call our beloved nation to a higher destiny, to a new plateau of compassion, to a more noble expression of humanness.
Yet Census data show an increase in income inequality in the US. Worldwide, the rich keep getting richer. “The top 1 percent seized twice the new wealth as the rest of the world in the past two years.”
So it is absurd when the Christian nationalist founder of Pastors for Trump said he was ‘pretty sure‘ that Martin Luther King Would Have Been a ‘MAGA’ Republican. I’m “pretty sure” Jackson Lahmeyer has heard, at most, one piece of one MLK sermon. For your maximum irritation, readers, go to the link above to see a MAGA hat photoshopped onto an image of King.
The AFL-CIO posted on the most recent King holiday: “We must remember him and his words truthfully—far beyond the often-repeated and misused line about skin color and character.
“Most people know Dr. King only as a civil rights leader. But we must remember him as a labor leader who was assassinated while supporting 1,300 Black men in their fight against neglect and abuse at the sanitation strike in Memphis, Tennessee.
“Dr. King is associated with ‘peaceful protest.’ But we must remember his sermon ‘When Peace Becomes Obnoxious.'”
“If peace means a willingness to be exploited economically, dominated politically, humiliated, and segregated, I don’t want peace. So in a passive, non-violent manner, we must revolt against this peace.”
(Coincidentally, I linked to that piece two years ago.)
Really honoring MLK
I recommend to you that you read Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Peruse his speeches.
If you want to take in I Have A Dream, which was at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom – he was an economic warrior – read or listen to the WHOLE thing; it’s about 17 minutes long.
“There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, when will you be satisfied? We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality…
“It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds. But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.”
Then remember, he advised the crowd not to “drink the poisonous wine of hate,” but to use the “way of nonviolence” when taking “direct action” against oppression.